David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Paulo Valore (ed.), Topics on General and Formal Ontology. Polimetrica 27 (2006)
So-called mass nouns, however precisely they are defined, are in any case a subset of non-count nouns. Count nouns are either singular or plural; to be non-count is hence to be neither singular nor plural. This is not, as such, a metaphysically significant contrast: 'pieces of furniture' is plural whereas 'furniture' itself is non-count. This contrast is simply between 'the many / few' and 'the much / little' - between counting and measuring. However not all non-count nouns are, like 'furniture', semantically atomic - 'wine' and 'water' are not. And here there are serious difficulties in the assignment of a range of values for variables, in a formal representation of quantified sentences involving such non-atomic non-count nouns.
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